Branding is one of the most important aspects of business, especially for startups.

You may be asking… why exactly is branding that important?

Answer: A well-developed/strong brand helps differentiate your company. It’s what will make people sit up and go…

Wow, this company knows what it is doing.

When implementing a brand strategy, you aim to build a business with significant credibility.

Also, branding helps you form an emotional connection with your target audience. As a result, you will find it much easier to communicate to prospective clients what your company stands for, what you offer, and why you are the best people to deliver.

A well-defined brand strategy is central to any company’s operations, from product development to marketing strategy.

Startups often face intense competition

This means that startups must establish a strong brand identity from the outset.

Why? Because a well-crafted brand can give a startup a competitive edge, helping you to stand out in your given industry.

Furthermore, a strong brand can help your business to attract investment, establish partnerships, and drive long-term growth. These are paramount to founders of startups looking to expand.

In short, branding is essential for the success of any startup and should not be overlooked or underestimated. It is a valuable investment that will pay off in the long run, as it will build the foundation of any successful and sustainable business.

Good branding is necessary to leave a lasting impression in the competitive market.

However, you can’t just “do branding.” It’s a lot more complicated than that. That’s why startups worldwide are looking for assistance from reputable branding companies.

But who’s the best in the business? It depends on what you need. Maybe you need help with your brand name specifically (consider ZinZin), graphic design-based branding (Jessica Jones), play with the big-guns from the get-go (Motto, Trix Media), a one-stop shop (Ruckus), strategy-focused (Frazer and BrandForSuccess).


My name is Pieter Steenkamp, and I am the founder of I have 20 years of experience as a brand strategist and academic. I hold a Ph.D. in brand management and an MBA.

To grow your business and succeed you have to Brand for Success which is part science and part application.


At Brand for Success, we combine science, application and focus:

– science: as a current and active academic I teach, research, publish and share the latest brand management insights.

– application: as a consultant, I apply best practices collaboratively so my clients’ businesses can grow and succeed.

– focus: we are brand management focused.

BrandForSuccess takes you from just another ordinary business to an authentically differentiated brand. Our main offering is the Brand for Success® workshop. During the workshop, we collaboratively clarify, focus and align your brand.

First, we clarify what authentically differentiates your brand, then we focus your team as brand ambassadors and align all your marketing for maximum effectiveness.

To grow your business and succeed you have to know how to brand for success. With the Brand for Success® process, any business can access the same branding insight afforded leading brands.


Ruckus Marketing has been in the brand strategy game for 15 years. They are an internationally established brand, working with large corporate clients like BMW and Crayola.

Ruckus brands itself as a “nimble, hungry, results-driven firm.” They are also highly process-oriented and have a heavily data-centric approach to branding.


When it comes to branding services, Ruckus Marketing offers the full monty. Their messaging around branding aligns with what you would expect from a brand strategy company. In addition, they look at ways to help their clients “design the story.”

Top branding agencies have many resources to deliver a wide range of service offerings. Ruckus offers Brand DNA, messaging, tonality, brand positioning, logo design, packaging, presentations, and much more.

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones is a specialist brand identity designer focused on helping small businesses and funded startups. She also promises to help businesses whose branding has become “haphazard or inconsistent.” Jessica has had a wide range of experience working with clients in industries like education, tech, food and beverages, consumer goods, architecture, and nonprofits.

Jessica pitches herself between a freelance graphic designer and a large branding agency. In other words, she’s the ideal middle ground prioritising quick and efficient work that delivers an immediate impact.


Jessica’s focus on positioning herself as a brand identity designer has allowed her to become established as a leader in this particular sub-niche. When it comes to visual brand strategy and illustration, this is where Jessica excels.

Working with Jessica Jones will be a good decision regardless of your industry if you are purely looking for memorable identity design and visual branding. She will be able to set you on the right path to having a powerful brand.


The motto is a strategic branding agency focused on brand transformation in large, forward-thinking companies. Motto aims to help their clients grow their revenue, attract long-term customer loyalty, and ultimately “supercharge your business.”

Depending on your budget, Motto may or may not be affordable. They are a global company that prides itself on having elite clientele, such as Microsoft, Google, and Virgin. The motto has also been featured on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, ESPN, Fast Company, and Inc.

Not a bad list to be part of.


When it comes down to what Motto actually offers, they lead with one crucial sentence.

“We create evergreen brands.”

Motto prides itself on taking a big-picture approach that powers the entire business, not just the marketing teams. As part of its brand strategy, Motto carries out a lot of research into industry trends.

Then they look at beliefs, values, and behaviours. This helps them understand the brand definition, positioning, and architecture. From here, Motto can create specific audience personas (this helps to humanise your target market).

Motto’s services are good; their elite clientele and accolades speak to that. However, they are an expensive option.

Trix Media

Trix Media aspires to help create “brands with an edge.” They are a full-service digital branding agency located in Beverly Hills. Trix Media claims to offer a “truly versatile” product branding culture.

With clients as large as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Hilton. Trix Media is another excellent choice in terms of big-name clientele. However, Trix Media also works with personal and local brands, making them startup-friendly.

Trix Media has adopted the “value branding” principles whereby they help clients to embrace what is innovative and flexible to prioritise ROI.


Trix Media’s brand strategy services involve choosing the right colours and typography to establish brand consistency. They also offer a “support” package focusing entirely on brand storytelling. This would be great in conjunction with their “Acceleration” package that helps businesses to focus on their strengths and increase positive word of mouth.

Trix Media also offers graphic design, online advertising, naming services, web design and development, and logo design services. To summarise, Trix Media is a reputable and established branding company that also provides services you may expect from a digital marketing agency.


ZinZin is unique to all of the other companies on this list. Why?

Because their entire focus is on their brand naming services, ZinZin adamantly declares that a brand’s name is the “single most important element of your brand strategy.” I can’t entirely agree with this. However, your brand name is a crucial aspect of your positioning in the market.

ZinZin offers many resources to help brands navigate the “competitive namescape.” So, whether you want to name an individual product or your entire brand, ZinZin may be the ideal service to help you.


As I mentioned, ZinZin is entirely focused on brand naming. This may sound simple, but you would be shocked by how complicated it gets.

ZinZin is an expert at what they do; as such, it can dive into lots of detail with their naming services. For example, ZinZin offers linguistic connotation screening, trademark prescreening, name development, and evaluation. Ultimately, ZinZin is one of many branding companies you should work with as a startup.

However, when it comes to brand naming, they are the best at what they do!


Fazer knows that a customer’s first impression of your brand is paramount, and they also know branding drives first impressions and the brand image as a whole.

Fazer aims to help its clients deliver “dynamic brand experiences that compel customers.” These brand experiences mold and shape the brand strategy in a way that sets up startups for success.


Fazer’s methods are highly strategic. First, their strategy involves a lot of market research and competitor analysis. This helps Fazer to identify opportunities where the brand can excel. Next, Fazer’s strategy involves storytelling and visualisation. This stage involves persona, messaging, themes, style-scaping, and identity design.

To conclude, Fazer is a solid choice for startups looking for a branding company that can help them with their marketing positioning and image. However, it doesn’t offer the same comprehensive services the other companies provide on this list.

Benefits of Branding for Startups

So, now that you know the best companies for startups looking to get help with their brand strategy, it’s also a good idea to be aware of the key reasons why you should enlist the help of a brand strategy specialist.

Establishing a Strong Market Position: Firstly, a well-crafted brand is one of the most cost-effective ways for startups to stand out. Branding will allow you to build a distinctive market position, helping you avoid seeming too generic. This is vital because it will enable you to capture the attention of potential customers and build a strong following.

Building Customer Loyalty: Good branding makes it much more likely for startups to gain loyal customers. Elements of brand strategy, like storytelling, are a great way to help people feel connected to your brand. Having a loyal customer base is helpful for startups wanting to find a stable revenue stream and drive long-term growth.

Attracting Investment: While we are on the topic of revenue, having a strong brand will also help to make your startup more attractive to investors.

This is quite obvious when considering that your brand strategy will demonstrate a clear market position, a compelling value proposition, and a well-defined strategy for growth. As a result, a solid brand strategy can help startups to secure funding and expand rapidly.

Improving Customer Recognition: A strong brand strategy will help your business become more recognizable, significantly increasing brand awareness. Not only does this help with gaining authenticity, but it can also lead to many financial benefits.

Branding Best Practices for Startups

So, you understand the benefits of implementing a brand strategy for your startup and know the best companies to help you get there. However, even in a perfect world, no business can do your branding for you 100% of the time.

You will find having at least some involvement with your business branding is much more effective. How can you do this?

Conduct Market Research: Before embarking on your branding campaign, conducting market research is important. This will help you gain a deep understanding of the needs and preferences held by your target market.

You can use this information to inform the development of the branding strategy, from visual identity to product positioning. But, of course, your goal should always be to center your brand strategy around your target audience.

Establish Brand Values: Startups should establish clear brand values early on. These values should ideally reflect the business’s mission and goals and help differentiate you from competitors. You can incorporate these values into your branding strategy as they can be used to guide the overall development of the business.

Create a Strong Visual Identity: Building a strong visual identity in your startup is a good idea. This will include both your logo and tagline. As we have discussed, startups can work with a branding company or professional designer to create their visual identity. However, if this is not affordable, freelance graphic designers on Upwork can be beneficial.

Communicate Consistently: Consistency is king. Thus, startups need to be able to convey their branding consistently across all channels. Tone, messaging, and visual styles should all remain consistent, as this helps to increase brand recognition.

Evaluate and Adjust: As a startup founder, regularly evaluate your branding and marketing efforts and adjust your strategy based on honest feedback and market research findings. This will help you make better branding decisions, whether you are outsourcing this or doing it entirely in-house.

Case Studies of Successful Branding Campaigns

Slack: Slack is known for its utility as a workplace communication tool. Most people see it as just that. However, when you think about it logically, Slack has leveraged branding to become one of the most famous companies in the tech industry.

The company’s brand gives off a fun and approachable vibe. Additionally, they use playful illustrations and a conversational tone on social media. As a result, this has helped Slack to build a strong connection with its target audience and establish itself as a leader in the workplace communication market.

Airbnb: Airbnb is an extremely popular home-sharing platform, and it’s used globally. Airbnb has primarily become so successful because they have leveraged branding. As a result of this branding and their business model, they have become a leader in the travel industry.

Airbnb’s branding strategy focuses on highlighting to customers the unique and personal experiences possible through Airbnb. The properties on Airbnb are visually stunning and provide a much more authentic feeling than a hotel (at a better price). Thus, Airbnb has used this to attract a significant customer base.

Dropbox: In the cloud storage market, Dropbox is one of the biggest names in the space.

Dropbox’s branding strategy has honed creating a simple and intuitive user experience. They have done this through their clear, concise messaging and clean and modern visual style. As a result, Dropbox has built a strong reputation and attracted millions of users. Startup brands can learn a lot from Dropbox!

Square: The mobile payment platform Square is another example of a company that has used branding to become known as an industry leader.

Square is focused on creating a simple and accessible user experience, using a distinctive visual style and focusing on small businesses. As such, Square has attracted a loyal customer base of small businesses, leading to consistent revenue.

Shopify: Shopify is the biggest name in the world when it comes to e-commerce and the online retail market. The Shopify brand strategy has been centered around empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Through its friendly and supportive tone and a focus on simplicity and ease of use, Shopify has accumulated a large and diverse customer base that only continues to see positive growth.

The importance of branding for startups is evident in these successful branding campaigns.

It is also interesting to notice how a well-designed branding strategy can impact a company’s success.



What is branding, and why is it important for startups?

Branding is the process of creating a unique identity and image for a company or product.

Branding isn’t black and white but typically involves developing an identity (who you are as a brand) and a name, logo, slogan, and visual style that reflect the company’s broader mission and objectives.

Startups need to get branding right because it helps them to differentiate the company from others in the market and establish a robust and recognizable identity.

How do I choose the best branding company for my startup?

If you are responsible for finding a branding company to work with at your startup, there are a few key things you need to look at.

Expertise: You want to choose a company with experience working with your stage of business and a proven track record of success.

Services: The branding company you decide to work with needs to offer the same services you need, whether that be logo design, brand strategy development, and market research.

Communication: Ideally, you will want to work with a responsive company that is friendly, easy to work with, and willing to keep you informed throughout the branding process.

Budget: Consider each company’s pricing and choose a branding partner that fits your budget.

What are the typical services offered by branding companies?

Every branding company will offer unique services. Although all branding companies aim to help you with your overall strategy development, each company will use different methods to help you. Additional services provided include:

  • Brand strategy/ brand identity
  • Logo design and visual identity development
  • Market research and analysis
  • Naming and tagline creation
  • Brand guidelines development
  • Website design and development
  • UX and UI design
  • Marketing services to grow an online presence
  • Video production


How much should I expect to pay for branding services?

The cost of branding services for a startup can vary widely.

Of course, it will largely depend on the services offered, the company’s experience and reputation, and the project’s size and complexity.

On average, branding projects for a startup will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 (even more sometimes).

Therefore, finding an affordable company that will provide high-quality services is important.


How do I define my brand values?

Knowing your brand values is core to creating a strong and consistent brand.

To define your company’s values, you must consider your business’s unique qualities and attributes and how they set you apart from your competitors.

Finally, see how congruent your and your target audience’s values are. From here, you will find it easier to list brand values that reflect your company and your target audience and express them clearly and concisely.


How do I measure the success of my branding campaign?

Measuring the success of your branding campaign is essential, but doing so isn’t easy.

Naturally, you will want to see whether your branding efforts have been effective, as this will help you to make informed decisions about future branding initiatives.

Therefore, tracking key metrics is vital.

Measuring changes in brand awareness (recognition and recall) and image associations are ideal. The most specific metrics to track include new email subscribers, sales growth, website traffic, and engagement on social media. These metrics are ideal because they are numerical-based and can lead to a reasonable estimate of ROI.

Wrap Up

Ultimately, branding is a crucial aspect of a startup’s success. As a result, all memorable brands have invested a lot of time into branding!

Working with an expert company is the best option for business owners looking for an advantage.

Successful branding campaigns like Airbnb and Shopify have highlighted the importance of a branding strategy for a startup’s success. Likewise, these case studies can inspire new startups looking to build a strong brand.

In summary, branding is a critical investment for any startup to choose the right branding company to partner with, implement industry best practices, and leverage the knowledge gained from previously successful branding campaigns. As a result, you will be positioned to create a powerful, impactful brand that drives growth and success.

Let’s Brand for Success!